The Primera División, officially called Liga BBVA due to the main sponsor BBVA and commonly referred to as La Liga, is the highest Spanish football league. Due to the hot summer in Spain, the 20 clubs play only from end of August or beginning of September to June on 38 matchdays a total of 380 matches. Games are played in the afternoons and evenings of Saturdays and Sundays, as well as on Monday evening. Unlike in other European leagues, there are rarely two matches at the same time in La Liga (click here to see where you can watch La Liga live on TV).
In the season 2013–2014, the average Primera División match attendance was 26,702 (previous season: 29,430). It ranks first ahead of the Premier League and the Bundesliga in the UEFA coefficients of leagues based on performances in European competitions over the last five years.
Not only the Spanish national team has proven its top-class over the last couple of years (European Champion for two consecutive times and World Champion 2010), also Spanish clubs have been very successful internationally. Still, the Primera División faces the dilemma that the financial gap between the two top clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and the rest of the league is immense. Real and Barça each net more than € 150 mn. a season from their local TV broadcasting contracts while two of their main competitors Valencia CF and Atlético Madrid earn € 100 mn. less. The financial strength also leads to dominance on the pitch. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid won 25 of the last 30 La Liga titles.
Due to excellent education of own young players, Spanish clubs can feed the Spanish national team constantly with new highly-skilled players. More than half of Barcelona's first team players were formed at La Masia, Barcelona’s famous youth academy. On 25th November 2012 for the first time in recent history, Barça played against UD Levante with eleven players formed at La Masia (and won 4:0). Athletic Bilbao only recruits players from the Basque Country and has only one non-Spanish player in his first team.
Spanish players find themselves much sought-after transfer targets of Europe’s top clubs (Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcântara at Bayern Munich, Juan Mata at Manchester United, David Silva at Manchester City, to name just a few). At the same time, the Spanish top clubs are capable of attracting or retaining some of the world's best players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar (FC Barcelona) or Arda Turan (Atlético Madrid).
Click here for further facts about La Liga
Click here for an overview of La Liga teams and players
Click here for a map showing La Liga teams